Do you still know the film “The Third Man” by Carol Reed? I admit, the black and white film from 1949 is not exactly current in the cinema, but it belongs to the classics for me and it is always fun to watch it again.
The film was shot on some locations in Vienna. There are “Third Man” tours in the summer and there is the “Third Man Museum” in Vienna.
And that’s exactly where I was magically drawn to.
Storyline of the movie
The setting of the film is Vienna after the Second World War. Like my hometown Berlin, Vienna was divided into occupation zones of the four victorious powers. There was also a fifth sector in the Inner City, which was administered jointly by all four powers.
The American Holly Martins receives a job offer from his childhood friend Harry Lime (Orson Wells), who lives in Vienna, and travels to the city. There he learns that Harry Lime has died shortly before in a traffic accident. At the funeral, Martins is approached by British Major Calloway, who informs him that Lime had been a pusher of tainted penicillin. Martins is horrified and begins on his own to get to the bottom of things.
A suspenseful thriller develops that raises several questions and in the course of which it even turns out that Lime is still alive.
In one of the most famous scenes of the film in the Ferris wheel in the Vienna Prater, Martins and Lime meet. Harry Lime admits to his racketeering without showing any remorse. This appalls Martins so much that he betrays his former friend. A chase through the Viennese sewers ensues, during which Harry Lime is finally shot dead.
The film ends with the funeral at the Vienna Central Cemetery.
About the filming
In total, the film crew shot in Vienna for seven weeks starting in October 1948. There were three teams working in different locations. One team, for example, was only busy with the night shots and another team shot in the sewers.
The actor Orson Wells, playing Harry Lime, was only in Vienna for two weeks. Many scenes were therefore shot with a double or even without him at all. Other actors were, for example, Paul Hörbiger, Joseph Cotton, Bernhard Lee, Trevor Howard.
Originally, the film was shot in English, but some scenes are in German and were not dubbed.
Filming locations in Vienna were, for example, the Central Cemetery, the Prater, the sewers and many places in the 1st district. The “Harry Lime Theme” of the film music, played by Anton Karas on a zither, also became famous.
Third Man Museum in Vienna
There is still so much that you can read about the film. But you can also go to the small museum in Vienna and really get such comprehensive information here that afterwards you think you’ve stood on the film set in person.
I enter the museum at the “main entrance” and stand in the museum store. After I hold my ticket in my hand, I learn that the exhibition starts three doors down. A small map and balloons help me to find my way around.
In the first section of the exhibition you come into seven small rooms of a ground floor apartment. Welcomed by a staff member, each! Visitors are taken one by one to the first room so that they do not get lost or miss any information.
I am greeted by fully hung rooms with lovingly compiled information about the actors, the producers, the author…. There are backstage informations, pictures from the set and, above all, movie posters from all over the world. I read my way from information to information and from room to room I am more and more in “Third Man Fever”.
At the end of the last room, I am taken with some other museum visitors one house further, to the second section of the exhibition. Here everything revolves around the topic of film music and Anton Karas. We are shown an original film clip with the help of an old projector. It’s a great feeling when the projector hums loudly, the film crackles and creaks. That is cinema!
After that we are accompanied to the third section. The Third Man Museum deals in the last rooms with the topic of Vienna in the post-war period. For many visitors, the division of the city into sectors is certainly hardly tangible. For me, as a Berlin child who grew up in the western sectors, much was known. The topic is very well processed and vividly presented.
I was almost 2 hours in the Third Man Museum in Vienna and am thrilled. Now I definitely want to take the tour through Vienna on the tracks of the film once in the summer.
I find it admirable with what dedication and love this private museum is presented. Here, two fans have really put their hearts into it and pass on their enthusiasm to the visitors.
1040 Vienna, Austria
Saturday: 14-18 h
Discounts are offered.